Japanese fire official says at least 33 people now dead after Kyoto animation studio fire.

This picture shows firefighters and rescue personnel inside an animation company building after it caught fire in Kyoto on July 18, 2019.
This picture shows firefighters and rescue personnel inside an animation company building after it caught fire in Kyoto on July 18, 2019. (AFP)

A man burst into a famous animation production studio in Kyoto and started a fire early on Thursday, leaving at least 33 dead.

The blaze also injured 36 people, 10 of whom were in serious condition, the official told AFP, adding that all those inside the building had now been accounted for.

Most of the dead and the 36 injured were workers at Kyoto Animation, known for mega-hit stories featuring high school girls, with places featured in the stories even becoming "pilgrimage sites" for their fans.

The suspect was also injured and taken to a hospital, officials said. Police are investigating the man on suspicion of arson.

Footage on Japan's NHK national TV showed gray smoke billowing from the charred building.

Rescue officials set up a tent outside the studio building to provide first aid and sort out the injured.

Fire department officials say more than 70 people were in the building at the time of the fire, but most of them ran outside.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the attack was "too appalling for" words, as he took to Twitter to offer condolences to the victims.

The fire was almost extinguished hours later, and firefighters were searching for anyone left behind.

Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 as an animation and comic book production studio, and is known for mega-hit stories featuring high school girls, including "Lucky Star," ''K-On!" and "Haruhi Suzumiya."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies